Energy & Environment

Democrats appear stymied on a top priority: climate legislation
Outside of passing Paris accord bill, new House majority has little to show

Democrats, led by Sen. Edward J. Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, center, introduce the Green New Deal in February. The resolution still hasn’t received a committee vote and hasn’t resulted in legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s been more than six months since Democrats assumed control of the House promising to take bold action on climate change. And what do they have to show for it?

Just one major bill directly addressing the issue has passed on the floor, a measure that would force the U.S. to honor its commitments in the Paris climate accord. A comprehensive climate change package has yet to emerge, and a bill reintroduced by the chairman of the main committee of jurisdiction over Clean Air Act issues hasn’t had a committee vote.

Oil refiners racing Congress to protect butane loophole
Joint Committee on Taxation now estimates 1-year extension of the alternative fuel credits would cost $7.1 billion

House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says Congress should leave it to the courts to decide whether refiners should get an alternative fuel tax credit for butane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For more than a decade, oil refiners didn’t realize what a moneymaker they had in butane — at least for tax purposes.

They do now.

House demands to see Trump’s cyberwarfare directive
But senators who oversee the Pentagon are not as concerned

Rep. Jim Langevin chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities. He’s part of a bipartisan group asking the Trump administration to share its secret cyberwarfare directive. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A small but significant quarrel is emerging between a bipartisan team of lawmakers in the House and the Trump administration over how the Pentagon is going about using its newly minted authority to strike back against adversaries in cyberspace.

Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee and its emerging threats subcommittee — in a rare instance of bipartisan pushback against the White House — have repeatedly asked administration officials for a still-secret memo issued by President Donald Trump that lifted earlier restrictions on U.S. Cyber Command’s operations against adversaries.

Mnuchin blasts Facebook's Libra currency on eve of hearings
The treasury secretary expressed concern it ‘could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee in Rayburn Building on the protection of user data on April 11, 2018. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he worries Facebook’s Libra and other cryptocurrencies “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers.”(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook’s Libra and other cryptocurrencies “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday, one day before Congress begins a series of hearings probing the social media giant’s first foray into next-generation financial technology.

“The U.S. welcomes responsible innovation including new tech that improve the efficiency of the financial system,” Mnunchin said during a White House press briefing.

Pelosi announces resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets
The president’s weekend tweetstorm has brought the sometimes-fractured Democrats together as they denounce his comments

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced a resolution condemning racist tweets from President Donald Trump directed at fellow House Democrats. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday a resolution in the House condemning President Donald Trump’s tweets over the weekend in which he instructed progressive congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The president’s weekend tweetstorm has brought the sometimes-fractured Democrats together as they denounce his statements, which have been condemned by many as racist.

EPA approves use of bee-killing pesticide
Agency also suspends study of bee populations

Award winning bees at the Iowa 2018 State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa.  The EPA said Friday it was permitting the broader use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

Just days after another federal agency suspended its periodical study of honey bee populations, the EPA greenlighted the wider use of a pesticide that environmental activists warn could further decimate the pollinators.

A major conservation group says it will take the agency to court over the decision.

Photos of the Week: They’re back from recess
The week of July 12 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Ominous storm clouds pass over the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House to Trump: Cough up cyberwarfare directive
Administration's decision to withhold policy doc from Congress is highly unusual, members say

The Trump administration has has made clear that the Pentagon is boosting its cyber operations — both defensive and, increasingly, offensive. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday voted to require the White House to give Congress a cyberwarfare directive that senior members say the administration has refused to turn over for nearly a year.

The language, which would force the administration to turn over “all National Security Presidential Memorandums relating to Department of Defense operations in cyberspace,” sailed through the chamber on a voice vote as part of a package of noncontroversial amendments to the annual defense policy bill.

Levin bill would put electric car chargers at national parks and forests
Transportation sector accounts for nearly a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions

Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., introduced a bill this week to make national parks and forests more electric car-friendly. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bill filed Wednesday by Rep. Mike Levin would provide millions of dollars for the federal agencies governing U.S. national parks and forests to facilitate the installation of electric car charging stations to promote the use of zero-emissions vehicles on public lands.

Under the bill, which Levin has dubbed the “Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act,” The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service would also be required to obtain zero-emissions vehicles and shuttle buses to replace the gas-fueled fleets they use now.

Rep. Thomas Massie TBTs to his summer fling
Kentucky congressman won the internet on Thursday

A 19-year-old Thomas Massie, in white cap, embarked on a 10-day trip across the U.S. in a solar-powered  vehicle named "Galaxy." (Courtesy Rep. Thomas Massie via Twitter)

There are two kinds of TBTs: the kind that we pause to view ever so quickly, perhaps give it a double tap, and then continue the scroll through the rest of our feed. And then there’s the kind that stops us cold, takes hold of our vision and raise questions faster than we can raise our eyebrows.

This morning, Rep. Thomas Massie blessed us with the latter.

America is woefully unprepared for cyber-warfare
From hacks to misinformation campaigns, its adversaries are winning in the virtual battleground

The U.S. military is increasingly adept at mounting cyberattacks in places like Russia and Iran, but America’s computers are almost completely defenseless. (iStock)

War in cyberspace is fully on, and the United States is losing it, according to about two dozen national security experts.

The U.S. military is increasingly adept at mounting cyberattacks in places like Russia and Iran, but America’s computers are almost completely defenseless. Without strong protections, offensive attacks can be invitations for disaster instead of deterrents.

North Carolina gears up for competitive special election in 9th District
Voters in the 9th and 3rd districts head to polls on Sept. 10

Voters in two North Carolina districts head to the polls on Sept. 10, but only the race in the 9th District is expected to be competitive. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress and Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer/AP file photo)

With the Republican drama in North Carolina’s 3rd District primary runoff now settled, attention in the Tar Heel State shifts to the more competitive of the two House special elections to be held on Sept. 10. 

Voters in the 9th District will choose a new representative in a redo election of last fall’s contest, which was never certified because of ballot fraud connected to the GOP nominee’s campaign. 

Fallout in Michigan and beyond from Justin Amash’s breakup with GOP
Complications force 3rd District race to move from Solid to Leans Republican

Rep. Justin Amash’s departure from the GOP complicates the party’s effort to regain control of the House, if he runs as an independent in Michigan’s 3rd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans didn’t shed a tear after Rep. Justin Amash jumped the GOP ship last week. But their exuberance over being rid of the Michigan congressman might be masking the impact his departure will have on their efforts to recapture the House majority and regain control of his 3rd District.

As more of a libertarian than a Republican, Amash has never fit comfortably within the GOP conference, and he made his departure official with a July 4 op-ed in The Washington Post declaring his independence from the Republican Party.

Pete Buttigieg, youngest of 2020 hopefuls, was unwilling to wait his turn in 2010 too
Bid for Indiana state treasurer did not attract red-state voters, but provided a ‘crash course’

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, at a rally protesting President Donald Trump’s policies outside the White House in June. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This is the third installment in “Battle Tested,” a series analyzing early campaigns of some Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Earlier pieces focused on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign for a New York seat in the House in 2006 and Sen. Cory Booker’s 2002 bid for mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

A decade before he seemingly came out of nowhere at age 37 to become a top-tier candidate in the crowded race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Pete Buttigieg stood at a podium in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and told state party leaders he was not going to wait his turn.

Why Kelly Craft is the right person for UN ambassador
There’s nothing partisan about her commitment to human rights and diplomacy

Democrats should be able to get behind Kelly Craft’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations given her commitment to diplomacy and defending human rights around the world, Greenwood writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It was Eleanor Roosevelt, an icon of my Democratic Party, who summoned the energy and conscience that inspired a young United Nations to produce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights out of the rubble of World War II. The declaration built on the U.N.’s founding promise to promote and encourage “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms,” ideals that sadly, 70 years on, are being casually violated, from the reeducation camps of Xinjiang to the gulag-like jails of Moscow and Cairo.

So at a time when leaders who should be Roosevelt’s spiritual heirs are mostly missing in action, it was heartening to hear a member of the Trump administration publicly pledge to “reinforce the values, our values, that were central to the U.N.’s founding.” That’s what Kelly Craft told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month during her confirmation hearing to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She promised to do the job with “an unwavering commitment to universal human rights and freedom” and vowed to “tackle human rights abuses every day.”